Discovering beautiful St. Petersburg has never been easier than it is today: Thanks to a new electronic visa issued on October 1st, 2019, you can travel to Russia after just four days of applying for a free visa online and stay for up to eight days. Tempted? Read on to find out how to max out a trip to Russia’s Venice of the North with sightseeing and activities—and where to stay while you’re there.
If you were to visit just one museum in your whole life, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg should be it. Plan ahead to make the most of the enormous collection of art on display here, spread across 360 rooms, and ranging from Siberian artefacts to masterpieces by Matisse. Then, walk for about 10 minutes to the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood, famous for its dazzling domes and mosaics. In the evening, visit Mariinsky Theater for a performance of ballet or opera.
The street of streets
St. Petersburg boasts the country’s liveliest nightlife scene, with a wealth of excellent cocktail bars, microbreweries, wine bars, and clubs. Luckily, there is one street that offers it all. Rubinstein Street, or Rubinshteyna, is the city’s most famous bar crawl. Featuring everything from traditional pubs to modern mixology and karaoke, not to mention a vibrant array of dining hotspots, you’re bound to have a good time.
Venice of the North
You’re never far from water in St. Petersburg. Whether you hop on a cruise and swerve through the historic canals, or traverse one of the 300 bridges in the city, there is always more to see. If you’re visiting during the summer, then you shouldn’t miss out on the opening and closing of the drawbridges during the White Nights in June and July, when the sun never fully sets. Whichever activity you go for, a trip on and around the spectacular Neva River is difficult to miss.
In St. Petersburg, the metro isn’t just about getting from A to B: It’s also a place of striking architectural beauty. Constructed in 1955, the first subway line is one of the deepest in the world, as well as the most stunning (all eight stations on that line are rich in historic significance). “Avtovo” is considered to be one of the most beautiful stations in the world, featuring grand marble columns and a massive mosaic mural.
The new e-visa also covers entry to Kaliningrad, either via Khrabrovo Airport or the Kaliningrad seaport. Among its many historic sights, don’t miss the UNESCO-listed Kaliningrad Cathedral, just 20 minutes from the Radisson Hotel, Kaliningrad, where you can sit in for an organ concert before visiting the exhibition devoted to the philosopher and Kaliningrad-native Immanuel Kant. Make your way to the coast and walk along the stunning sand dunes of the Curonian Spit—you might even find amber!
Where heritage meets design
Dating back to the 18th century, the building that today is home to the elegant Radisson Royal Hotel, St. Petersburg has retained many of its original features, while offering a modern hospitality experience throughout. Its 164 fully renovated rooms overlook St. Petersburg's main street, Nevsky Prospect, placing you near world-famous attractions.
For a unique hotel experience, check in to Radisson Sonya Hotel, St. Petersburg, a boutique hotel inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky's famous novel Crime and Punishment.